Coping With A Pandemic: DISCO's Cat Casey

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Law360 (May 13, 2020, 9:16 AM EDT) --
Cat Casey
Cat Casey
As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community.

Today's perspective comes from Austin, Texas-based Catherine "Cat" Casey, chief innovation officer at e-discovery software provider DISCO Inc.

What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?

The pandemic dramatically accelerated the need to support forensics, e-discovery and the practice of law in a virtual way. From cloud-based data collection to remote document reviews and leveraging a robust virtualized data ecosystem to keep client data secure and accessible, the new normal dramatically impacted how many legal teams conduct e-discovery and even the practice of law more broadly.

Thankfully, my company did not have to make much of a shift because we designed our platform and services as cloud-native and already had a deployment mechanism that supported the increasing need for virtual, secure and accessible solutions. The interesting thing to me has been the speed at which many of our clients, law firms and enterprises alike have shifted how they leverage existing capabilities to support their very different needs. Some who were devoutly anti-cloud or anti-remote work are suddenly launching remote collections and reviews, and reporting back favorable outcomes.

I anticipate that this global pilot program of virtualizing aspects of the practice of law will have a lasting impact because innovative professionals can face detractors with ample evidence that alternative cloud and remote solutions are safe, efficient and viable.

How are you and your family adapting at home?

As a veritable road warrior, the shift to remote work was not a dramatic one. I've been active with tools like Zoom to enable virtualized collaboration over the last decade.

Being grounded from travel was certainly the more jarring transition, especially given the amount of time spent away from home to interact directly with peers and clients around the globe. Yet despite the new social distancing obligations, I have found myself more engaged with many peers and clients, thanks to remote meeting tools and people's need to feel connected during times of physical isolation.

I have also found it easier to integrate with cross-functional teams because there are no longer travel time and time zone considerations limiting my calendar. From marketing to engineering and even training, my ability to directly impact the broader organization has increased with the pandemic.

My new co-workers, two geriatric and obese pugs, are also in favor of the new working arrangement because they get more head scratches!

What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you've witnessed so far?

I have two favorites.

First, I love the virtual networking and think tank events set up by David Cowen and Ari Kaplan to facilitate discourse, collaboration and commiseration across the legal technology ecosystem. The insights and stories shared by other industry leaders are both inspiring and relieving. We are all figuring out how to adapt to QNow and plan for Qnext at the same time, all struggling and persevering.

My other favorite innovation came from a charity I am on the board of and passionate about, The Life Preservers Project. The charity focuses on ending human trafficking and saw an uptick in the need for their services during the pandemic. Unable to use traditional fundraising methods, the group put on a virtual concert via Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube, and was able to raise thousands of dollars and engage with over 1,500 people. People coming together and adapting and improvising using the tools we have always taken for granted has been inspiring.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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